Yoga has become a part of my daily routine. I used to follow the Rodney Yee videos closely but have now learned what poses work best for me. During the day when I feel my body tighten and stress, I do a few yoga poses. Yoga has helped me become more flexible and has also helped my back and neck issues that I deal with from working as a dental hygienist.
Last week I was home visiting my mom in California. She invited me to try the hot yoga class that she has been taking for about a year. This class closely follows Bikram yoga in a heated room. A typical hot yoga class will be between 104 to 105 degrees F with about 40-50% humidity. It’s pretty hot!
The goal of hot yoga is to get your body to sweat to detox. Plus when your body is warm, you can stretch your muscles further.
Things to know before trying hot yoga:
- Your stomach should be empty. Don’t eat for 3 hours before class. This was hard for me since I am a snacker!
- Make sure you are hydrated. Drink plenty of water several hours before class. Depending on your instructor, drink water throughout class. The class I took allowed water (thankfully!) but I’ve heard some hardcore yogi’s don’t allow water during class.
- It’s okay to take a break during class if you feel dizzy. If the heat is getting to you, take a break by laying down in savasana. Don’t feel weird about it. Even some of the regulars in the class I took had to ease back.
- You will sweat. There is no way around this. Bring an extra towel and wear minimal clothing. My mom also packed a towel to sit on in the car for the drive home (alternatively, bring clothes to change into).
- A towel is needed to go over your yoga mat. They make non-slip towels just for hot yoga.
- Make sure to have an electrolyte beverage ready for after class.
My thoughts on the experience:
I found the poses similar to many that I have tried at home. The class I took was 90 minutes long. The first hour went quickly. It was hot but manageable. The last 30 minutes was hard. Mentally, I wanted to escape. The air was thick and my mind kept telling me “time to leave”. It was definitely a mental struggle to stay in that hot room. Sweat was rolling down my legs and arms. There was not a dry spot on me.
I ended up finishing the whole class and felt good afterwards. The next day I was even a bit sore from holding the poses and using different muscles. I wouldn’t do hot yoga on a regular basis – not really my thing. However, I would take another class if the opportunity came up. I would much prefer a 60 minute class though!
Have you tried hot yoga? What are your thoughts?